Editorial: Golden opportunity to acquire the downtown post office | February 24, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - February 24, 2012

Editorial: Golden opportunity to acquire the downtown post office

Birge Clark building is surplus, but could be adapted to other uses if price is right

Palo Alto residents have been picking up their mail and buying stamps at the downtown post office since 1932, but change is coming and with the financial meltdown of the Postal Service, 380 Hamilton Ave. is likely to have a new owner before the year is out.

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Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

It seems the funds Stanford provided to Palo Alto as compensation for the medical center construction projects should be considered to purchase this facility.

Like this comment
Posted by Just Asking
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

Could it be used for a new police building?

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Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

So, a fiscally strained city should buy a building it's not sure it has use for, because it's pretty? That's a great way to run a city. How about using it for a Palo Alto History Museum? Oh, we already have one of those that we can't fund.

And, after the building is purchased and the budget can't be met, who's the one that will e plain to the newly laid off city employees that the city wanted to buy something shiny instead of run the city properly?

There are hundreds of other useful ways to spend money if the city is running out of ideas.

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Posted by Judith
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

Dear Just Asking -

Unfortunately, that building does not meet the seismic requirements for a public safety building, which has to meet a much stricter code than other types of buildings. It would be very expensive to retrofit it, assuming it were possible to do so. By the time you go through paying for all that, you might have built a building designed for that purpose.

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Posted by Lia
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

I truly hope this beautiful, historical landmark will not be left vacant too long while a
'feasibility committee' is created. I have witnessed too many historical landmarks sit unattended and abandoned, while groups take years to agree on price and "best use". I am positive this architectural masterpiece is alive with many, many memories for each and everyone of us who've had the opportunity to walk in and be amazed by it's understated elegance. Love This Building.

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Posted by Just Asking
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thank you, Judith. I very much appreciate your explanation.

In that case, I agree with Lia of Mountain View that people need to brainstorm about how to best use the property, so it's utilized well and quickly. It's a lovely building - and has fond memories for many.

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 25, 2012 at 8:59 am

The city must have an overwhelming, fiscally responsible justification for spending public dollars on this building. It will cost millions. The city must be responsible in the manner in which they allocate these funds, especially since we are in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis. The city still faces annual budget deficits. They have numerous cuts in public safety and deferred vital infrastructure needs, all the while continuing to spend millions on non-essential projects and programs. The city needs to get its financial priorities straightened out before they dive into yet another niche expenditure. Steps can be taken to ensure that the old post office building is preserved short of the city buying it. Again, unless the city can demonstrate that this property will be used to fill a vital infrastructure need, then it's simply something that we can't afford.